Warner Bros Discovery: Arjun Nohwar at helm to push digital expansion plan?

Nohwar’s digital experience will help prepare the company for its next phase of growth, said Clement Schwebig, President & MD of Warner Bros Discovery, while announcing the leadership change

e4m by Sonam Saini
Published: Jun 10, 2022 8:32 AM  | 3 min read
arjun

In a major leadership change announcement at Warner Bros Discovery yesterday, Arjun Nohwar has been appointed the General Manager India. Megha Tata, Managing Director, South Asia, Discovery Communications India, has stepped down. 

The appointment of Nohwar as GM India indicates that Warner Bros Discovery’s priority in India likely is digital. In fact, Nohwar is also responsible for the launch of HBO Max in India, and Clement Schwebig, President & Managing Director of Warner Bros Discovery, has mentioned that Nohwar’s digital experience will help prepare the company for its next phase of growth. 

Industry observers believe that Warner Bros Discovery's announcement regarding the leadership change in India has clearly highlighted their plan for digital expansion in India, which is the next logical move for them.

In India, the combined business will operate in the kids, infotainment and lifestyle genres, with 17 channels and two streaming platforms. With Cartoon Network, Pogo and Discovery Kids, the consolidated company will have a strong presence in the kids’ space. This will be a big boost for the genre as despite being the fourth most popular category in terms of viewing, the children's section suffers from under-indexation.

"Given the current state of broadcasting, it may not be feasible for them to develop a large television network in India. Genres like infotainment and lifestyle are already struggling because of NTO," remarked an industry observer on the condition of anonymity. As a result, he noted, an emphasis on digital will be on the agenda. "With digital advertising and subscriptions on the rise, it's best to go with the digital focus," he opined.

The business also includes the theatrical distribution of Warner Bros. Pictures titles, the syndication of Warner Bros. TV, HBO and Max Originals, Warner Bros. Discovery Global Brands & Experiences and WB Games.

According to another industry expert, HBO is known around the world for its digital content, and it's possible that Nohwar was hired because they want to improve their digital offering.

Speaking on the leadership changes, he said since AT&T has a higher stake in the merger, the Warner group will have a stronger leadership position. Last year AT&T had announced a $43-billion deal to merge WarnerMedia with Discovery. AT&T, which had acquired Time Warner for $85 billion, will form a new media company with Discovery in which it will own a 71% stake with the latter holding the remaining 29%.

“Globally, Warner’s emphasis is on digital and these changes were expected ever since the two companies announced their merger. Also, Discovery’s editorial policies are very different from what Warner does,” said a senior broadcast executive. 

He further added that both HBO and Warner have a vast library of content, and with this merged entity, they are likely to take the content beyond TV. “The leadership is aligned with the global vision.”

Discovery Communications India's net revenue from operations has grown 10.32% to Rs 928.8 crore for the fiscal ended 31st March 2021 as against Rs 841.9 crore in the previous fiscal. Total expenses for the fiscal increased 10% to Rs 866 crore from Rs 787.3 crore. Net profit remained flat at Rs 45.9 crore against Rs 45.8 crore.

Meanwhile, Time Warner-owned WarnerMedia India's (formerly Turner International India) revenue for the fiscal ended 31st March has dropped 14.46% to Rs 376.75 crore from Rs 440.48 crore in the previous fiscal. Advertisement revenue dropped 35.48% to Rs 95.8 crore from Rs 148.5 crore. Subscription revenue was down marginally by 3.14% to Rs 258.5 crore from Rs 266.9 crore. The company earned Rs 16.6 crore from promotional licence fee, which is a 12.3% drop from Rs 14.78 crore a year ago.

 

 

 

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